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Reposted from JekyllnHyde by JekyllnHyde

I first posted a version of this diary on Christmas Eve 2011.  Even in the midst of unprecedented carnage in World War I, soldiers on both sides found within themselves a modicum of human decency and desire for peace. In this most brutal of wars which raged on for four long years, there was a cessation of hostilities on the night of December 24, 1914 - even if for only one day.  Any time, anywhere, when the cycle of violence is momentarily interrupted or broken, that, in itself, is worthy of remembrance.

Wars suppress the natural urge of men to behave in a manner that has no bearing to and can even remotely be construed as civilized behavior.  

Combat does terrible things to human beings and transforms the best of them into killing machines. The low-key and gentle man who may have been a country farmer in a previous life turns into a savage, thirsty for blood.  The unassuming and quiet factory worker who was primarily concerned with making machine parts emerges as an efficient killer.  The seemingly peace-loving gardener who lovingly took care of nature's wonders is worried about one and only one thing - kill or be killed.  

Prolonged conflicts severely restrict and narrow one's options on the field of battle.  Through all the brutality, soldiers are preoccupied with the ultimate goal: survival. And at the war's end, a longing to be reunited with their loved ones and to carry on with their mundane, unexciting, and ordinary lives.  

The lie and the harsh reality of total war is simply this: older men send younger men into battle to die while invoking honor, duty, and country.  How should soldiers behave when placed as cannon fodder in an impossible situation?  

As I wrote in this 2007 diary - "Shared National Sacrifice" and 'The War' Tonight on PBS

Grand strategies, geopolitical objectives, and tactical battle plans are for politicians and generals.  In a democratic society, soldiers don't make the decision to engage in war; political leaders, some with perverted personal agendas, do.  

The "Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom" Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote about the futility of war and directed his criticism at the British military high command.  His classic poem,The Charge of the Light Brigade, is about a disastrous suicidal charge made by British soldiers in the Crimean War.

The Crimean War took place between 1853-1856, with Tsarist Russia fighting an Allied force consisting of soldiers from the British, French, and Ottoman Empires.  The Allies were also joined by a force from the Kingdom of Sardinia.  The war resulted as imperial powers jockeyed for territorial influence following the decline of the Ottomans.  


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Reposted from Matthew R Bishop by JekyllnHyde

The Great War began one hundred years ago this very summer. But while the 70th anniversary of D-Day made headlines for a week and more across the nation, our memory, when it comes to the First World War, may as well not exist at all.

The Great War claimed between twenty and sixty-five million lives, civilian and military combined. Perhaps it is because the Americans did not enter the war until 1917 that we do not remember it with as much fervor as we remember the beaches of Normandy. Yet the fact is that while World War One changed our nation and our world, this summer, on the one hundredth anniversary of its outbreak, few Americans have any real sense of why this war occurred, when it occurred, how many people died, in what ways our country was changed, or for what cause so many soldiers were willing to more or less commit suicide by enlisting. Our journalists seem themselves unaware of this anniversary.

Normandy evokes our memory, but Gallipoli does not. Okinawa does, but Verdun does not. The trenches are some cloaked memory of ages passed. No one remembers the toxic gasses that, for four horrible years, became weapons. With the last of those who killed and died in this war, our memory of these events fell away. Will the same happen for the Second World War? The third, however far or near that may be?

The great and terrible history of blood and iron is washed by the slow passing of years, and once washed that history is seldom restored to memory. It is the fate of all wars big and small, from the Crusades to Napoleon. Historians can point to cities on a map. But that is not what war looks like. That is not what war feels like. Wars have a greater impact on our lives than changing the shade of our country on a map from one color to another, but only if we make an effort to keep history alive, to learn from our mistakes, and to heed the lessons our elders would teach us.

I have made an effort to study war and to ask my elders about their memories, and all the impressions I have of World War One are negative ones. Ten thousand men dying in a single charge up a hill in Turkey for no damn reason. Men here in the States thrown in jail or tried for treason against their country because they dared to ask why this war was being fought. A great-uncle of mine who didn't sleep the whole night through for a single night of his life after suffering neurological gas damage at the age of eighteen, and who began to lose his sanity in his young thirties. French and German troops calling over to one another's trenches to tell the opposing side when they would be firing, just to make sure they didn't keep killing each other until no one was left-- because everyone in those trenches knew that this war was senseless. I've read the statistics in academic journals when I was earning my major in history. I remember browsing through regiments whose death rates were above four hundred percent-- that meant that the entire regiment had been killed and replaced on five separate occasions. It is our duty to remember all of this and more, or else we are letting anywhere between twenty and sixty-five million die in vain.

We cannot let this anniversary go unmarked. We should not let it pass in silence. If we have one thing to learn from our reflection, we should learn that peace is sacred, and we should cherish that peace for our own selves and for everyone around the world. Our peace should be as loud as their war, or else their war was truly for nothing.

August first is the 100th anniversary of the day when Germany declared war on Russia and the First World War formally began. On that day, I challenge everyone to share a story about war and peace. Remembering one of mankind's greatest blunders, let us learn our greatest lesson, and let us remember it well enough that it may also be remembered by those who follow us.

Those who survived the bombs and the guns and the gas and the tanks dreamed of a world where peace endures forever. We can try to build that world, or we can let this anniversary pass us by already forgotten.

Matthew R. Bishop is a journalist and novelist. He is the C.E.O. of World Report News, a conflict prevention world news company launching in 2015, and also writes humanist fantasy and antiwar allegories.

Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

I gave up on shopping in malls several decades ago. If you find me in a mall these days, it's only because I had no other choice (that's where the local Apple Store is in Ann Arbor, unfortunately, and I have been assimilated by The Apple Borg™). If I do go to a mall, especially around the holidays, I do what I like to call "guerrilla shopping". I know what I need, I know which store has it, I know where the store is. I park, enter the mall, keeping my head down, not making eye contact with anyone, and get in and out before they even know I was there.

With my wife's family, we have developed a tradition of making things for each other. My wife and I are now famous for our fruit jams and jellies. Michigan black raspberries. Michigan cherries. Michigan peaches. Michigan blueberries. Michigan blackberries. We put 'em in a jar and seal 'em tight, as the song goes. My sister-in-law is a wood worker so her gifts are coveted. My brother-in-law is a graphic artist so his gifts are a treat. My mother-in-law makes reusable cloth gift bags so we see her gifts reappear again and again each year, changing hands and making the circuit.

It's a splendid tradition. It challenges us to take time out of our busy schedules to do something creative and receiving a gift that was made by the work of someone else's hands is really a special treat. Best of all, it keeps us out of the damned malls!

Here at Daily Kos, we have our own family, our own kommunity. What's most remarkable to me about this Krazy Kos Kommunity is how amazingly diverse it is. That, combined with the inestimable level of creativity of our fellow Kossacks makes a project like the Kos Katalogue an extraordinary thing to behold.

What's that? You've never heard of the Kos Katalogue? What is the Kos Katalogue, you ask? Well, it's only an online bazaar, a internet street fair of vendors hawking their wares (and services) to the members of this incredible kommunity. With a group of talented creatives this big and this diverse, it only makes sense to put it all in one place so people can stroll down the internet aisles and shop.

Here's the thing: chances are pretty good you're going to be doing at least SOME shopping for the holidays. Why not take advantage of this truly remarkable opportunity to support your kommunity, support your fellow Kossacks, and find a unique gift you wouldn't find in the mall even if you tried?

Make the jump past the orange squiggledegibbet to find out where you can find this iMall of Kreative Koolness called the Kos Katalogue and you can skip the malls completely.

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Reposted from JekyllnHyde by JekyllnHyde
I am reposting the diary from late last night in the hope that more of you would see fit to consider the simple request I made, which is rather easy to implement.  As OPOL wrote far more elegantly than I ever could in his diary last evening, if the powers-that-be are unable or unwilling to extend meaningful economic help to most of the country, stimulate economic growth, and create more jobs, then, to the extent possible, we need to take care of each other.  Also, see this excellent comment by Words in Action.

As you know, Markos kicked off the Kos Katalogue Blogathon yesterday morning with his diary - [Tapping into our community's creativity and entrepreneurship.  He urged everyone to familiarize themselves with dozens of very creative Kossacks (Hotlist this diary) who toil day in and day out to make exquisite items all of us can use.  

The Kos Katalogue blogathon will showcase many of these talents, with diaries over the next two days by these entrepreneurs showcasing their wares.  This will be as much a celebration of our community's creativity as an opportunity for the rest of us to avail ourselves of those goods.

There is something else all of you can do to help.  It's very easy, too.

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Reposted from Mojo Friday by TexDem
Sunday 23 June, San Francisco Airport

I was standing in front of my seat 27D waiting for 27E to show up since 27F had just sat down. As he approached with a smile (I found out later it belied how he was really feeling) and asked; "How's things?" I replied; "Waiting on you." It was 27E.

His name is Todd. He's 6'1" tall about 160 lbs lean and fit. Despite his slightly disheveled look you knew he was in the military, the haircut, the backpack were separate giveaways the two together nailed it. He had deep blue eyes and dishwater blonde hair, a good-looking kid. VeloVixen later said; "God, he could be your son he favors you so much." Yeah, I know. He may not be my son, but from now on he'll forever be one of my boys. Just as Brandon and Richard  along with every recipient of a Care Package we ever sent will be one of my boys, our boys. Todd, the good-looking 82nd Airborne medic from  Northern California will forever be one my boys. Along with the kids I coached for five years coaching Pop Warner Football are and will always be one of my boys.

Spec. Todd Applegate is a medic in the 82nd Airborne, with 7 months left in his enlistment. He was returning to Fort Bragg after attending his brother's wedding the previous evening. The post nuptial partying explain his disheveled look.

I gave him the pickle that came with my sandwich hoping the potassium would help him in the recovery from the effects of the previous evening. Later I would share my coconut water for the same reason. Letting him rest would work too.

During his time with the 82nd his unit has been deployed twice. As Todd explained pointed out with  both pride and weariness, the 82nd is the most deployed unit in the Army. So the chances of the 82nd or at least elements of the 82nd being deployed to Afghanistan at least one more time are high.

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Reposted from TheFatLadySings by VeloVixen
Walter H. Reichelt 1925-1987
I want to thank my fellow Kossacks.  This year, my beloved father-in-law of 30 years passed away while I was at Netroots Nation. The next morning, my friends at Netroots for the Troops addressed 150 care packages for the troops as a memorial to him.

Walter was a WWII vet. He commanded a tank in Czechoslovakia and France. His service to his country was especially important to him. He would have loved knowing so many boxes were sent to troops in his name.

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog


I got a tepid response to my last call for volunteers for the Netroots for the Troops CARE package assembly, staging and booth shifts in my last post so I'm doing another to see if we can get a few more slots filled.

At the moment, we have gaping holes on all three days (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.) We need folks to help in the booth (which involves a number of tasks including helping get shipping paperwork together, stamping & assembling boxes, and soliticiting letters to go into the boxes), as well as helping to stage the items for the Big Event itself on Saturday.

We are in particular need of folks to be in the booth on Friday and Saturday and to take up some slack on Thursday, as well.

All the information is below. Please sign up now if you can help. That alleviates my stress level considerably.


- Chris

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Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 07:30 AM PDT

Mojo Friday - Stoned II - Edition

by TexDem

Reposted from Mojo Friday by TexDem

I'll be headed to the hospital a little latter this morning for a second round with the urologist to clear the remnant of that huge stone from several weeks ago. The remnant is 4mm and has moved out of the kidney but has gotten hung up low in the ureter. This is an outpatient procedure so I should/could be home by 5-6PM EDT today.

Meanwhile I'll repost some of my post from 2011 called Mojo Friday - Stoned - Edition.

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Reposted from Bob's Blog by bsegel

A special edition of my monthly diary showcasing the pictures taken by the White House Photography staff. This is a follow up diary to the one I did last year for Netroots for the Troops. This year I'll be posting pictures that the White House staff has taken since June of last year.

All photographs were taken by the White House Photography staff lead by Pete Souza.


President Barack Obama meets with White House Military Office commanders, directors, and military aides in the Oval Office, June 28, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
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Fri Jun 07, 2013 at 07:30 AM PDT

Mojo Friday - Guardian Angel - Edition

by TexDem

Reposted from Mojo Friday by TexDem

While watching The Stephanie Miller Show earlier this week she highlighted an excellent program that helps deployed military personnel who have pets. As a pet owner (parent to Fred and Max) it seemed a natural for Stephanie to highlight such a program. Since many here at DK ask what else they can do to support our deployed military I thought I'd highlight one of the fostering programs.

Guardian Angel's for Soldier's Pet's has been around since 2005 and I'm surprised with so many pet owners and animal lovers here at DK we haven't heard more about them before now. Here's your chance to help a deployed military personnel who doesn't have someone to look after their beloved pet. There are a few other organizations which may have similar programs, I encourage you to investigate those nearest you.

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Reposted from Eclectablog - eclectic blogging for a better tomorrow by Eclectablog

Hi, folks. As I have for the past two years, this year I am again coordinating the volunteers for the Netroots for the Troops (NFTT) effort in a couple of weeks at Netroots Nation in San Jose. If you are unfamiliar with NFTT, click HERE.

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Reposted from Mojo Friday by TexDem

Netroots For The Troops® set a modest goal of $15,000 for this year and we are 80% there. As of the moment I'm writing this we have raised $11,966.00. Thanks go out to everyone who contributed and to our NFTT Angel for her match challenge. We are in the neighborhood of 130 - 150 donors. Outstanding!

Make a donation today. Donate $20 $50 $100 $250 or $___ now.

 photo NFTTclicktodonate.png

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